A waste-free Middle Eastern runner bean meze recipe | Waste not


Runner beans are a wonder, because just about the entire plant is edible – and they get no better than in this Middle Eastern braise with spiced tomatoes

At 14, I worked on a pig farm for £1.50 an hour. Although my main role was mucking out the pig pens, I’d also tend to the farmer’s crops of potatoes, pumpkins and runner beans. The quantity of beans, in particular, that we harvested each season seemed almost magical.

Scarlet runner beans are one of the easiest and most productive vegetables to grow, and the whole plant is edible, including the leaves and red flowers (the nectar-sweet flowers taste similar to the beans themselves). Use the leaves and flowers raw in a salad or cook them like any leafy green. If you’re growing runner beans, remove the colourful beans from the pods of any oversized, stringy ones, dry them and store; soak and cook much as you would kidney or borlotti beans.

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